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Parks and aggravation: Canal-side builders leaving cars on sidewalk • Brooklyn Paper

Parks and aggravation: Canal-side builders leaving cars on sidewalk

Park it: Michael King is fed up with workers at the Lightstone development in Gowanus parking on sidewalks in the neighborhood.
Photo by Steve Schnibbe

This parking job really stinks.

Workers who are building a controversial apartment complex on the banks of the Gowanus Canal are parking on sidewalks, say neighbors, and they haven’t stopped despite multiple warnings and tickets from police.

“They just park on the sidewalks every day,” said Michael King, who lives on Second Street, across from developer Lightstone Group’s still-rising building on Bond Street between First and Second streets.

King has made a dozen 311 complaints about illegal parking over the past two months, which have resulted in cops issuing two fines.

Officers initially met with workers to give them an opportunity to move their trucks off the pavement and away from fire hydrants before laying down the law, but when the problem persisted, authorities began issuing summonses, according to a source at the local police precinct.

Some neighbors also claim the workers have taken to fencing off portions of the street with traffic cones, giving locals the impression they’ll be towed for parking in the public spots — though police say they are unaware of this infraction.

“They’ve taken over the opposite sides of the streets to accommodate wide turns for their trucks, idling trucks bring in supplies, and even their own personal cars,” said Michael McGinn, who also lives on Second Street. “The companies doing the construction seem to think the street is theirs to commandeer as they see fit.”

One of the contractors working on the project said that it has paid thousands of dollars for permits to bring in trucks and supplies, and that all of its parking was above board.

“My gut tells me that whatever someone’s complaining about is something we paid a great deal of money to secure legally,” said Bernard Ruf director of operations for Lettire Construction.

When shown photos of the vehicles parked on sidewalks, Ruf claimed they belonged to another company.

Now, a local pol has stepped in. Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon (D–Boerum Hill) says she recently spoke with Lightstone, following complaints from King, and the developer promised it would give its contractors a stern talking to.

“I spoke with a rep that told me they’ve heard the message and they’re going to be addressing it with their crews,” Simon said.

But the assemblywoman said she was unaware that any permits that would give contractors carte blanche to park throughout the street and on sidewalks, and is skeptical of Ruf’s claims.

“I’ve never heard of anybody buying permits to park on the street,” said Simon.

Lightstone’s Lavender Lake-side building will contain 429 units plus with yoga rooms and spin studios, and is slated to open later this year. It initially planned on constructing a second, 268-unit structure next door between First and Carroll streets, but sold that project to developer Atlantic Realty for $75 million last year.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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